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Hunting is not just going out into the bush and shoot the animal. Hunting is hard work. Your knowledge and skill will be tested to the utmost extreme.
There are of course various institutes where you can sharpen your skills, but most of your knowledge and skills would have come from your dad or grandpa. From your young days you would be out hunting with dad, observing, learning… And when the time is right, get your opportunity. But if you did not have this opportunity and want to start hunting now, here are some pointers on getting started:
In order to do this you would need a gun. Do not go out and buy one. Rifles are expensive and you don’t want to spend your hard saved money on a rifle and then later decide that hunting is not for you. It would be ideal if you knew someone with rifles. That person can then also give you some advice and pointers, especially on gun safety. You can also go to your local shooting range. They will help you and there are usually various courses that you can also do. Learn about guns and how they work, and as mentioned learning about gun safety is the most important! The more you practice, the better you’ll get.
You will probably not know where to start. Get in contact with a hunting association that is dedicated to Conservation through sustainable utilization. One such organization in South Africa is CHASA (The Confederation of Hunting Associations of South Africa). There aims to represent the hunter in securing the freedom to hunt. This is achieved through promoting sustainable ethical hunting practices through leadership and advocacy of all matters related to hunting and the freedom to hunt. Associations like this will be more than willing to help. In the States it is very similar. Take advantage of all the help offered.
Buying a rifle
When you feel that this is you, then buy yourself a rifle. Before you can do this you first need to get a firearm license. You will need to undergo training at an accredited institution and obtain a training proficiency certificate. You must successfully pass the prescribed test to prove your knowledge of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 as well as the prescribed training and practical test regarding the safe and efficient handling of a firearm at an accredited training provider. Once you have obtained the competency certificate, you can apply for the firearm license at your nearest police station. You need a license for every firearm that you possess. (This is how it works in South Africa).
Hunting is one of the ways to get as close to nature as possible. Get out of the busy life in the city and enjoy nature at its very best! Good luck and remember, safety and ethical hunting always comes first.
We had our Annual PH meeting on Tuesday (February 28, 2017) at Linksfontein Lodge. Although meetings were the order of the day, we got the opportunity to catch up after not seeing each other for a while! It is always a great reunion when the whole team gets together! On Tuesday night we had an inside braai while the rain was pouring outside! We are all set to go for the rest of the year and all the hunting that awaits!
South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
It has a very rich diversity and a huge variety of cultures. Coming to Africa and South Africa for the first time might be a scary thing, due to all the stories out there (no lions do not roam the streets of Johannesburg).
Here are some tips and details for your first hunting trip to South Africa.
The central and southern parts of South Africa do not have Malaria. The northern parts of South Africa however do. When going to that region or to countries higher up like Zimbabwe, Zambia etc. it is highly advised that you get malaria pills for you and the family.
The clothes you bring along are very important. It is almost always sunny during daytime from May through to September. This is our winter months. Temperatures range from low 30’s F and can warm op to the 70’s F during the day. Some days might be cooler than others. Early mornings and evenings is normally very chilly so be sure to pack at least one warm jacket. For hunting purposes early morning, gloves and a warm balaclava is also recommended. Walking shoes, a couple of pairs of woolly socks and about 2 pairs of long hunting trousers are also essential.
Sunscreen, repellent, hats
Sunscreen and at least one hat is an absolute must, especially in the summer months. In certain areas in South Africa it gets extremely hot. If you are caught out in the bush hunting with none of these you might be in for a painful next couple of days.
South Africa has a huge variety of species to hunt and the terrain in each part of South Africa differs immensely making South Africa one of the best places to hunt. If you are new to hunting make sure that you practice your shooting before coming over. The most important thing to do while out hunting is to always listen to what your professional hunter says. This will improve your success rate and will keep everyone save.
South Africa is a very safe place for international travelers. However, it is sensible to take normal precautions while travelling, particularly while in the city. You might only be in the large city when you come into the international airports. We recommend the use of travelers’ cheques or credit cards rather than large amounts of cash just as you travel to other adventure destinations. The hunting areas are remote and crime is nearly crime-free. While on safari you and your family can relax and enjoy the magic that Africa has to offer.
There are many different rifle calibers and makes out there. It can sometimes be a very difficult and confusing task to pick the right one.
Here are a couple of tips on which rifles might be better for different hunting situations in Africa:
Big Game Hunting
“This topic will be debated for many years to come. The best possible answer is to bring the gun that you are the most comfortable with and that you feel most confident shooting. The rifles you intend to bring along are subject to government rules and regulations as set out in the SAPS 520 section. If a recommendation had to be made (this is not a rule though), we would suggest a 30-06 and a 375. With these calibers you will be able to hunt anything that walks in the African bushveld”.
Dangerous Game Hunting
“Experienced Hunters as well as professional hunters will all have their own opinion on their favorite rifle. When hunting for dangerous game, the .375 caliber is the minimum prescribed by law in most African countries”. “For hunting dangerous game one of the 400 caliber hunting rifles should be considered. A 404 Jeffrey, 416 Rigby, 458 WM, 458 Lott, 470 or bigger – Pieter Kriel”.
“When coming to Africa for plains game, bring a rifle that you are completely familiar with and comfortable shooting. The .270 Win should be considered the minimum for most medium-sized plains game species, although a smaller caliber can also get the job done with a well-placed shot”. “The 30.06 caliber is also a very good all-round choice for plains game hunting in Africa. It has a proven track record and ammunition is readily available. Other calibers like the .308, 7 mm Rem Mag, 7mm-08, 300 Win Mag are all great choices”.
“The 300 Win Mag is an excellent all-round choice, especially if your safari will take you to areas where long shots may be necessary”.
“The most popular calibers brought along on any South African hunting safari trip range from a 270, 7mm-08, 7 mm Rem Mag, 30-06 to a 300 WSM and 300 Win Mag”. As mentioned the most important thing to keep in mind is that you feel comfortable and confident with the rifle you are bringing. Bullets play just as an important role. A bad bullet can cause a great shot to be bad, especially when hunting bigger game. Most important is to get to the shooting range. Get comfortable with your rifle, and when on safari, listen to the advice from your PH.
Hunter John Tinley